Real Change: Obama to Convene Climate Change Forum

Another sign of the big changes brought by President Obama came today as he announced that he is going to convene the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate. In a little more than two months we have gone from an administration that resisted any climate change science to becoming a leader on the issue.

The White House said, “The Major Economies Forum will facilitate a candid dialogue among key developed and developing countries, help generate the political leadership necessary to achieve a successful outcome at the UN climate change negotiations that will convene this December in Copenhagen, and advance the exploration of concrete initiatives and joint ventures that increase the supply of clean energy while cutting greenhouse gas emissions.”

The session will feature 16 major economies and the Secretary General of the United Nations getting together in Washington on April 27-28. The point of the meeting is to prepare for Major Economies Forum Leaders meeting that will take place in July in Italy. The 17 major economies are, “Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Denmark, in its capacity as the President of the December 2009 Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the United Nations have also been invited to participate in this dialogue.”

Compare this position to a 2007 House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform report which found that, “The White House exerted unusual control over the public statements of federal scientists on climate change issues. It was standard practice for media requests to speak with federal scientists on climate change matters to be sent to CEQ for White House approval. By controlling which government scientists could respond to media inquiries, the White House suppressed dissemination of scientific views that could conflict with Administration policies. The White House also edited congressional testimony regarding the science of climate change.”

This is a great change from the Bush position that climate change is an issue that must be studied more. Frankly, I would have been happy with a scientific community that wasn’t being censored anymore. The fact that Obama is acting so quickly is a bonus. Of course, Republicans oppose Obama’s climate change agenda because it is the equivalent of a “sales tax on energy.”

However, if the nation was to follow the GOP way, we would be left behind and miss out on the potential of a green economy in order to save a few special interests some money. In my opinion, this announcement represents the Obama administration as a government that intends to govern for the people.

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